A continuous improvement initiative was identified at Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine’s (KCGM) Fimiston open pit with the goal of reducing bench turnover time and increasing shovel digability by improving fragmentation around previously mined-out stopes. In the past, a higher number of blasts than normal would be required to get through a single excavation area where stopes were present. This is due to the limited reach capability of the drilling fleet from safe ground into restricted areas requiring the drilling of the shot to be done in a staged manner. In addition, the holes that were able to be drilled in the area did not remain open long enough to be loaded with explosives as a result of the poor ground conditions surrounding the stopes.
Over the last 18 months, KCGM has trialled drill additives to improve blasthole stability, as well as introducing a remote drill rig allowing holes to be drilled in areas previously inaccessible by manned drill rigs. This has resulted in improved penetration rates in bad ground conditions, improved drill hole stability, better shovel digability, and an overall reduction in bench turnover of at least ten days on the benchmarked 126 days average per bench. KCGM is now in the final stages of the improvement project with the installation of a drill monitoring system on the fleet to allow live data transfer back to the office for analysis, as well as providing improved accuracy on drill holes in restricted areas.
Michaud, C and Kavanagh, D, 2016. Reducing Bench Turnover Time and Improving Shovel Digability, in Proceedings Ninth AusIMM Open Pit Operators’ Conference 2016, pp 19–27 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).